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Craig Pinkney

With events open to members of the public, staff and students, the Festival offers an opportunity to learn and experience different cultures and perspectives. The theme celebrates that this is the 15th annual festival, with a focus on reflecting on how equality has changed over the last 15 years and looking forward to predict what changes we might expect over the next 15 and how we can all be part of that change.  

The Festival will be launched on Monday, March 2, with a keynote address from Craig Pinkney, a Criminologist, Urban Youth Specialist and Director at Solve: The Centre for Youth Violence and Conflict (UK). Craig is an experienced Youth Worker and academically holds a BA (Hons) in Youth & Community Development (JNC), Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning, Post Graduate Certificate in Research, Master’s in Criminology and is currently a PhD Researcher in Social Sciences at Birmingham City University.

Craig has over 16 years of experience as an outreach worker, transformational speaker, international gang exit strategist, mediator, mentor and filmmaker. He is well known for working with some of country’s most challenging young people, potentially high-risk offenders, victims of gang violence and youth who are deemed most hard to reach.

Craig is also the UK lead for the EU Gangs Project, an advisor for the Ministry of Justice in Jamaica, and a visiting lecturer at University College of Birmingham, specialising in Youth Violence, Urban Street Gangs, Social Media, and more, that you can find out about on March 2.

At this exciting launch event, Craig will discuss the power of privilege on choices and life journeys. He will reflect on the prevalence and impact of gangs, drugs, county lines, knife and gun crime over the last 15 years and the changes and effects we can expect to see in this area over the next 15 years. 

Craig’s keynote address will encompass themes of racism, the impact of social media and of music on our society and open our eyes to the challenges young people may face.  His talk will be engaging, enlightening and challenging, making those who do have ‘privilege’ aware of the issues those without may face.  

The University’s Institute of Gender Studies works closely with the Diversity Festival and together will present a range of events celebrating International Women’s Day 2020.  The first of these events takes place on Wednesday, March 4 and welcomes Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Mark Cashin, who will talk about how he supports gender equality in the Fire Service. 

Mark will also talk about how Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service brings greater awareness of domestic violence to the public and encourages victims not to suffer in silence and come forward and the Service’s commitment to supporting ‘Open the Door’, a county-wide campaign which aims to bring domestic abuse out from behind closed doors by encouraging people to start a conversation and seek advice and support.

The second event is on Monday, March 9 and is a showcase of 15 of the University’s most inspirational women. Chaired by Professor Emma Rees, Director of the Institute for Gender Studies and including our first female Vice-Chancellor Professor Eunice Simmons, speaking for just 15 minutes each about what feminism means to them, their experiences of equality over the last 15 years and their hopes for change over the next 15 years. 

The third takes place on Wednesday, March 11 and features Dr Victoria Bateman is a Fellow in Economics at Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge in conversation with Professor Rees. Victoria is the author of two books including The Sex Factor: How Women Made the West Rich (2019), and has led calls for a sexual revolution in economics as well as conducting various high profile ‘naked protests’ to highlight the marginalisation of women’s bodies in economics.

A Menopause Café, aimed at breaking down the taboo around menopause, increasing awareness of the impact of the menopause on those experiencing it, their family, friends and their colleagues, and reflecting on the ‘third stage of life’ is open to both male and female participants of all ages and will be held between 3.30pm and 5.30pm on Wednesday, March 11 in Churchill Brasserie, Queen’s Park Campus.

Following the World’s first Menopause Café, held in Perth, Scotland in 2017, a number of Menopause Cafes have been organised throughout the UK, including in some workplaces. 

Crunchy Talks: Tales from Midlife Journeys aims to smash preconceptions about ageing and making women in their middle age more visible. Created and led by the lifestyle journalist Michela Di Carlo, a panel of guests will take questions and answers on Tuesday, March 10 from 3pm to 5pm in the Churchill Brasserie at the Queen’s Park Campus.

We also look forward to welcoming Martin Gallagher, the man behind Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog, 'Learning to Dad' who openly and honestly explores his experiences of living with depression and anxiety as a dad; author of That's Not Right! My life Living with Asperger's, TV and radio presenter, Asperger's champion and speaker‏‏‏‏‏‏‏ Alex Manners and Dr Tom Micklewright, GP, writer and digital health specialist, exploring the question, will emerging technologies make for a fairer society?   

There are 90 events taking place across the Festival, which runs from March 2 to March 14 across the University’s Chester, Warrington and Shrewsbury sites. Some of the other great events include:

  • The Interfaith Dialogue where West Cheshire Interfaith Forum members representing the Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Humanist and many more faiths will explain more about the central values of each of the faiths and answer any questions that audience members may have;
  • A Customer Service approach - How has equality changed over the last 15 years? Where consultant Andrea Duckworth will focus on explaining how we can provide excellent customer service to disabled students, staff and other customers; and
  • LGBT+ Allies with representatives from Chester Pride and Bank of America. 

The first Diversity Festival was held in 2006 and since then it has been a platform for many famous names, including prolific human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell; former Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi; Warrington peace campaigner Colin Parry OBE; playwright, novelist and broadcaster Bonnie Greer OBE; Falklands war veteran Simon Weston; Baroness Oona King; Paralympian, Jade Jones; author and founder of the Everyday Sexism project, Laura Bates; and feminist writer Naomi Wolf.

Festival organiser Kathryn Leighton, the University’s Development and Diversity Human Resources Manager, said: “The Festival aims to provide a focus for people to positively explore and celebrate all aspects of equality and diversity, hopefully learning more about others and resulting in kinder and more accepting communities, whether that is working, learning or living communities.

“All the events are open to all students, staff and the public, and they offer many unique opportunities to learn and experience different cultures and perspectives.”

All events are free, but booking is essential. For details and a copy of the programme please visit

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